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Chapter 4. Working with Vectors > Introducing the Basic Shape Drawing Tools

Introducing the Basic Shape Drawing Tools

The basic shape drawing tools, along with the Pen tool, are the building blocks for vector drawing in Fireworks. These tools can quickly create basic shapes, also known as closed paths. The Basic Shape tools include ovals, circles, rectangles, squares, polygons, stars, and rounded rectangles. The tools are located in the Vector Tools section of the Tools panel. When you use any drawing tool to create an object, the tool applies the current fill and stroke to the object. All these are drawings.

Note

When you select any tool in the Vector Tools section of the Tools panel, the program automatically changes to the appropriate drawing mode.


Note

When you select any tool, the options for that tool is available in the Property Inspector.


Creating Ellipses and Circles

If the Ellipse tool is not visible on the Tools panel, click the Basic Shape tool that appears to the left of the Text tool and hold the mouse button. A pop-up menu appears from which you can select the Ellipse tool (see Figure 4.6).

Figure 4.6. The pop-up menu for selecting the Ellipse tool.


Click one part of the canvas and drag to another to draw the shape. Holding the Alt key as you drag draws the ellipse from the center out. Holding the Shift key as you drag the shape with the mouse constrains the ellipse to a perfect circle.

Notice that the shape, size, and position of the ellipse are anchored from the corner where the mouse was first clicked and follow in whatever direction you drag (see Figure 4.7).

Figure 4.7. Ellipse’s unique shape and size anchored from the corner.


Note

The basic shapes are drawn from the location where you first click the canvas after you select the tool.


To draw any basic shape out from its center, hold the Alt key (for Windows) or the Option key (for a Macintosh) as you drag.

Creating Rectangles and Squares

The Rectangle tool works differently than the other Basic Shape tools because Fireworks draws rectangles as grouped objects. This grouped behavior allows you to control and redraw the rounded corners using the Property Inspector.

If the Rectangle tool is not visible on the Tools panel, click the Basic Shape tool that appears to the left of the Text tool and hold the mouse button. A pop-up menu appears from which you can select the Rectangle tool (see Figure 4.8).

Figure 4.8. Selecting the Rectangle tool.


To create the rectangle, click one part of the canvas and drag to another. Holding the Shift key as you drag the shape with the mouse constrains the rectangle to a perfect square.

Warning

Clicking indiscriminately or making small clicks on your canvas with any shape tools without dragging creates miniscule shapes that you might not see when deselected. These miss-clicks can cause problems later, especially when they are slices on the Web layer.


Creating Curved Corner Rectangles

To create a rectangle with curved corners, select the Rounded Rectangle tool. Notice, on the Property Inspector, the Roundness slider (see Figure 4.9). If the Rounded Rectangle tool is not visible on the Tools panel, click the Basic Shape tool that appears to the left of the Text tool and hold the mouse button. A pop-up menu appears from which you can select the Rectangle tool. Then, click and drag from one part of the canvas to another.

Figure 4.9. The Roundness slider on Rectangle tool Property Inspector.


Note

The Property Inspector also contains settings for stroke position and the fill over stroke check box. These are covered in Chapter 5, “Working with Color Fills and Strokes.”


Use the Roundness slider on the Property Inspector to adjust the corner radius of the rectangle interactively from 0 percent to 100 percent, or type a number in the Roundness text field.

You can also adjust the corner radius as you draw by pressing the up or down keys, the left and right arrow keys, or the 1, 2, 3… keys repeatedly. It’s fun to watch the corner radius change as you draw it.

Creating Polygons and Stars

Polygons are shapes that have three or more sides. In Fireworks, you can create polygons with up to 360 sides! You can create stars by choosing Star on the Property Inspector (see Figure 4.10 and Figure 4.11). The slider stops at 25, but you can manually type higher numbers. Try typing 999 in the number field beside the slider. You notice that you will still get 360.

Figure 4.10. The Polygon Side slider in the Property Inspector.


Figure 4.11. The Shape selection in the Property Inspector for polygons.


When you draw stars, you can either specify the angle for the star points or have Fireworks assign them automatically by clicking the automatic option. Try playing with the number of points.

Note

Unlike ellipses and rectangles, which drag out from the corner of the shape by default, polygons and stars drag out from the center by default.


To create polygons, complete the following steps:

1.
Select the Polygon tool. If the Polygon tool is not visible in the Tools panel, click and hold your mouse on the Basic Shape tool in the Vector area of the Tools panel (just to the left of the Text tool) to reveal the Basic Shape tool group pop-up menu and select the Polygon tool.

2.
Slide the Sides slider to the number that you want (or you can manually type the number, up to 360).

Note

Although you can specify up to 25 sides for a polygon, polygons with any more than 10 sides look much like a circle, depending on how big they are. This is not so with stars, with which you can create burst-like graphics when sides are specified to greater amounts.

3.
Click and drag on the canvas. The polygon draws out from the center point.

If you hold the Shift key while dragging a polygon or star, it constrains the angles of the polygon or the points of the star.

To create stars, complete the following steps:

1.
Select the Polygon tool. If the Polygon tool is not visible in the Tools panel, click and hold your mouse on the Basic Shape tool in the Vector area of the Tools panel (just to the left of the Text tool) to reveal the Basic Shape tool group pop-up menu and select the Polygon tool.

2.
Select Star from the Property Inspector.

The Sides number field with its slider now shows the number of points that will be on the star and the angle controls are added to the Property Inspector.

3.
Slide the Sides slider to set the number of points for your star.

You can set the number of external points from 1 to 360 in the Sides text field.

You can also type the number into the field directly.

4.
Click the Automatic check box to create stars with parallel-aligned line segments.

You can also use the slider to set the angle of the points.

5.
Click and drag on the canvas. The star draws out from the center point.

Now try this:

1.
Select the Polygon tool.

2.
In the Properties Inspector, set the shape to Star and the sides to 6, and angle to 20 (see Figure 4.12).

Figure 4.12. Star Property Inspector with Appropriate Settings.


3.
Click and drag.

Now you can see that you have a very pointed six-pointed star.

4.
Now, once again, select the Polygon tool.

5.
Click the Automatic check box next to angle, and notice that the angle number changes (see Figure 4.13).

Figure 4.13. Setting the Automatic Angle option.


As you drag, you’ve got more of a six-sided Star of David or the “two triangles overlapping” version of a star. When you click the automatic check box next to angle, Fireworks sets the automatic angle of a 6-pointed star to 57 degrees. Notice that each of the sides of the triangles’ arms is parallel-aligned.

Warning

Because of the way the Rectangle tool behaves, there is a tendency to think that after you draw a polygon, you should be able to change the number of its sides by changing the sides number in the slider on the Options panel, but you cannot.


Creating Straight-Line Segments

The Line tool creates straight-line segments. To draw straight lines with the Line tool, follow these steps:

1.
Select the Line tool from the Tools panel.

2.
Position the cursor on the canvas.

3.
Click and drag to another location on the canvas.

4.
Release the mouse.

As you drag, the line’s “direction” follows the path in which you drag the cursor. Also notice that the line is highlighted and that, on either side of the line, there is a single square point. This is the anchor point. The line or line segment between them is referred to as the path. The anchor points are the vectors.

Note

A vector can also be described as any possible point along the path, but that’s getting picky. Another way to say it is that a vector is the intersection of an x and y coordinate, not the path between two such intersections. Remember that a vector is actually the equation that determines the direction and shape of a path. Thus, a path exists between two anchor points, or vectors, on a path.


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